Fabricant - Drudge to the Thicket

Angry Metal Guy 70

Fabricant is the shiny, new progressive tech-death project founded by two members of Berkeley-based prog deathers Mefitis. On their excellently named full-length debut Drudge to the Thicket, the trio involved pull out all the stops to take you on a bouncy, jouncy, unpredictable ride through the progressive side of death metal, and by the time it’s all over, you’ll feel like you’ve been drudged THROUGH the thicket backward. While I’m not the biggest prog/tech death guy, preferring the disgusting old school forms of knuckle scrapery, after a cursory sample of the promo, I felt compelled to hear the rest of what these weirdos were doing. I came away rather impressed. The talent involved is arresting, but it’s the trio’s ability to channel and focus their abilities into engaging compositions that don’t come off as too wanky-wonky. This is the secret sauce and the most refreshing part of the Thicket package.1

Things take off fast on opener “Prey to Whom” where the Fabricant blueprint (yarn-wall) is unveiled. There are nods to Pestilence’s later era and chunks of Horrendous, Morbus Chron, and Atheist flying around with a patina of Voivod hanging over everything. Clanging, popping bass lines merge with jagged riffs that twitch, die, and reform as something equally weird, all supported by a neverending barrage of fills and rolls from the backline. It’s chaotic but in a controlled way that ebbs and flows with rationality (usually). “Eloper’s Revelations” layers a cold blackened sheen over the herky-jerky transfer of sound as guitar lines run amok. It’s at once heedless and contemplative, a strange highway for sounds and ideas that seem unrelated initially, but end up forming something singular and compelling. “Demigod Prototype” is a straight-up riff rager with more murderous intent than its stablemates. It’s like Heartwork era Carcass got high as fook, blasted some Cynic, and then tried to write their own prog-tastic death.

Drudge To The Thicket by FABRICANT

As good as Drudge to the Thicket can be, there are moments when the trio’s ambition exceeds their grasp. “Song of Stillness” is odd and at times too disjointed, with an unwanted (by me at least) Primus vibe drifting in and out. “Disjunct” lives up to its title, feeling too schizoid with its tumbling transitions. I enjoy the display of talent here much more than I do the actual song. Contrast this to “Headless” where the band stay more linear and kick your ass across several dimensions without abandoning their prog fetish completely. “Borderland Vigil” is also more streamlined and riff-focused, slicing and scorching along with great enthusiasm. My favorite moments come during “Adrift the Sleepless Swamp” which has a darker, more blackened vibe and a sense of danger and edge. At 43 minutes and with songs mostly kept in the 3-4 minute window, Drudge manages to feel like an exhilarating ride without exhausting the listener. The sound is clean and vibrant but the guitars have a nicely abrasive bite and the vocals are just upfront enough to remind you this is a death metal album.

Much could be said of this trio’s talents. Troy Roberts’ (Mefitis) guitarwork is out of this world, flying through time and space and playing with black and death metal idioms in fascinating ways. The man builds a towering edifice of fretboard accomplishments as he loads up every track with tasty noodles of unusual texture, channeling Voivod’s immortal Piggy more than a few times along the way. He also does a good job with his harsh, raspy Jeff Walker-esque snarls and deathly roars. At times it sounds like he’s doing dueling vocals with himself and these moments are great fun. Ryan Daugherty’s basswork plays a titanic role, clanging and banging away nonstop and giving the listener a fascinating counterpoint to Roberts’ wild riffing. The bass can become too prominent and in-your-face at points, but that’s par for the course with music this technically wanton and promiscuous. Pendath’s (Mefitis, Polemicist) drumming is an inspiration in itself. It would take a special player to hang with Roberts and Daugherty and he’s more than up to the challenge, often stealing the spotlight with his complex and nimble skin destruction and nuanced kit adventurism.

I may never become a full convert to hyper-technical, proggy death metal, but I really enjoy what Fabricant created on Drudge to the Thicket. It’s technical as hell and indisputably proggy, but not to the point where it alienates a greasy caveman thug like Yours Steely. They also do the Dark Lord’s work by keeping things heavy even at their most wonky. Check this thing out while you bask in the mantle-ready family photo-style group pic above. You can almost hear Mom in the background yelling at them to smile and act normal for once. They can’t.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 9 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Profound Lore
Websites: fabricant.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/fabricant.band
Releases Worldwide: September 15th, 2023

The post Fabricant – Drudge to the Thicket Review appeared first on Angry Metal Guy.

Thu Sep 14 18:53:02 GMT 2023